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Comments regarding White Flower Farm

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Neutral proserpine
(6 reviews)
On Apr 6, 2021, proserpine Commack, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Posted on April 6, 2021, updated April 6, 2021
I used to order from WFF decades ago (literally), back when they and Wayside were the "go to" mail order nurseries for things you could not find locally. As time went on, other specialist nurseries arose and became reliable sources for more unusual things than WFF had.

Fast forward to early March of this year when WFF appeared to be the only nursery offering three specific perennials on my wantlist. (Not rare or unusual, simply that none of my go-to online sources are stocking those this year.) So I ordered them from WFF. First thing I noticed was that there is no ability to specify a preferred shipping date on the order form; WFF says "ships at the right time for spring planting." O-kay then, I will trust them to know when my last frost date is. After all, they are only 2 hours away from me....

Imagine my surprise when I received a "Your plants have shipped!" email in *MARCH*! Three weeks BEFORE the average last frost date (April 15th) here.This did not make me happy, because the planting bed in question was still quite cold and mucky from recently melted snow. And the plants were bare root which meant I had to scramble to get them potted up somehow and stored frost-free at a time when overnights were still in the 30s. Nobody should ever ship plants to my zipcode in March! When ordering, I always specify "April 15th or later."

Also, WFF sent only ONE of the three types of perennials in my order. The other two types were not included but "would follow later." Got the second of the three (two echinaceas) about a week later. Small pots but, I will say, well rooted. But frost was expected for the next three nights and so they had to stay in the garage. I still have not received the third perennial type yet, thankfully, because it is still far too early for those (Rudbeckias.) I suspect they are probably seed/greenhouse grown anyway.

Unfortunately, any northeastern nursery who thinks it is okay to ship anything to a northeast customer at any time in March is unlikely to ever get another order from me. But at least now I understand why their shipping fees are so high compared to other nurseries who are NOT on the West Coast. Example using a plant material cost of $75-$99.99 from a well known midwest nursery starting with B = $16.95. Example using a plant material cost of $90-$150 from WFF = $29.00. Frankly, the only East Coast nursery with higher shipping costs is the one whose initials are P.D. (and I can't afford to order from them at all, so it's a moot point, lol)

On April 6th, 2021, proserpine added the following:

I forgot to add a comment about the shipping box used for the second shipment (two echinaceas each in a 1-pint pot, basically 2.5"-3" square.) The box was the size that would accommodate 8 or 10 such pots, or perhaps a small shrub in a 1-gallon pot. One little plant/pot at each of the far ends, with some semi-crumpled brown paper tossed into the gapingly empty middle. Both of these plants would have fit in a small Priority Mail box with room to spare, but instead ended up in a 24" long x 8" x 8" carton. Such overpacking no doubt contributes to WFF's overly high shipping costs as well.
Neutral Mia_Lousie
(6 reviews)
On Apr 12, 2017, Mia_Lousie Evanston, IL wrote:

Ordered bulbs this spring from several companies. Always compare bulb size where that info is available. White Flower Farm didn't provide bulb size but I figured that for the money, they must be selling premium goods.

The bulbs received are fine but not huge or outstanding. Prices seem high for what was sent, compared with other suppliers. One Dahlia Fleurel bulb for $10.50 and from another supplier 3/$11.95. Same quality. Hmmm.

On Apr 12, 2017, White Flower Farm responded with:

"On Apr 21, 2017 6:59 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:

Thank you for your comments, I have forwarded your feedback to our Director of Horticulture. All of our Dahila tubers are guaranteed throughout the growing season. If you are not pleased with the performance of the plants, please contact us in the fall via email or telephone at [email protected] or 800-411-6159 and you will be fully compensated with either replacement tubers in the spring or a credit/refund, whichever you prefer.

Michelle, Customer Service Manager"

Neutral sneezer2
(1 review)
On Feb 21, 2013, sneezer2 Wexford, PA wrote:

Whiteflower Farm claims to be selling Dona tomato plants.
Though mentioning that Dona hybrid was "bred to please the
fastidious customers in small French markets" (how truly
bucolic!) they do not indicate anywhere that their product is
the genuine Dona F1 hybrid. They even include two "customer"
reviews from people who extol the virtues of Dona F1, neither
of whom indicates having bought their tomatoes from WFF.

They also have failed, after several days, to answer an
email to their customer service querying the nature of
what they have. To me it seems obvious if they have
genuine Dona F1 from a legitimate French source for
seed, that they would be proud to say so. After all, who
would doubt that White Flower Farm has the capacity to
obtain genuine seed in quantity and sell real F1 plants
when others probably wouldn't.

I'm not saying that I have seen White Flower Farm
misrepresent any of their plants but in the situation where
so many are selling fake OP Dona seeds and plants and
considering the cachet of their company, it just seems to
me that they would wish to distinguish themselves by
both having the genuine Dona F1 and by saying so. That
they don't do so leads me to, "um", question what they are
up to.

I have classed this comment in the "Neutral" category
because the nature of what they are selling is unclear.
I would very much like to see a representative of their
company stipulate that what they have is genuine Dona F1
(a registered and protected variety in the E.U). Should
they be able to do that, the category of my comment
would be "Positive" and I would be unhesitating in
recommending their product.

On Feb 21, 2013, White Flower Farm responded with:

"On Feb 22, 2013 10:31 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:

We apologize for the delay in responding to your posting and your email regarding the 'Dona' tomato. We have forwarded your comments to our Marketing Department and are waiting for their response.

White Flower Farm Customer Service

On Feb 25, 2013 2:24 PM, White Flower Farm added:

We have heard back from our Marketing Department and our current supplier of the 'Dona' tomato is supplying us with the open-pollinated seed, so it is not the true F1 hybrid.
We thank you for bringing this to our attention and our web copy will be adjusted accordingly.We will continue in our on-going efforts to search for a supplier of the true F1 hybrid seed.
White Flower Farm Customer Service "

Neutral AS
(46 reviews)
On May 18, 2011, AS (Zone 7a) wrote:

Posted on August 22, 2010, updated May 18, 2011
Posted on April 6, 2010, updated August 22, 2010
Posted on June 15, 2003, updated April 6, 2010
I've always had a good experience with this company. I'm very selective about what I buy from them, since their perennials and shrubs are expensive. But if I can't find it locally or from any other reputable mail order company, I'll try WFF and they've always come through. I ordered a Cornell Pink azalea from them last year and it was the most carefully packed shrub I've ever received by mail. It was large, already had flower buds, and actually bloomed within a couple of weeks (I was surprised, not expecting any blooms its first year), then settled in and has been growing like crazy. I was also surprised to see that the bulbs in their fall catalog were quite reasonably priced last year. They were big bulbs, too, when they came - comparable to Scheepers, who I've always liked. Every one of those bulbs - even the winter aconite, which is notorious for drying out - grew and bloomed well.

On October 12th, 2004, AS added the following:

I will not change my rating, since I have always been satisfied with the plants I have received from WFF (and with their customer service). But I do want to note that their prices seem to have gone through the roof lately. For this reason, I haven't ordered from them in 2 years and am not likely to order from them again. I've also noticed that they charge extremely high prices for annuals, including those that can be grown very cheaply from seed, like cleome.
On April 7th, 2009, AS added the following:

Ordered another Cornell pink azalea from them this year, plus an English rose so the shipping cost for one plant wouldn't be completely ridiculous. They had this deciduous azalea for much, much cheaper than any other company. It's actually very comparable to the one I bought many years ago - which is now getting enormous (unfortunately, too big to move). And the rose is a nice, big sturdy plant. Both were packed very well, and arrived in fine shape. I was pleased. But I repeat - DO NOT order annuals from them unless you check the cost and availability of seeds first. There are some doozies in this year's catalog, including possibly the most expensive zinnias in the world. :)
On April 6th, 2010, AS added the following:

I ordered a couple of shrubs and one perennial (Baptisia) this year from a gift certificate I received. All are healthy and in good shape, though the size didn't wow me. I'm not sure whether their shrubs are getting smaller, or I'm just used to other companies. The Baptisia is very small for $16 or whatever it was - for that price, I can get three plants that are only a little smaller from Bluestone. Still, they delivered healthy plants, and one shrub is already blooming in the correct color. The packing was also quite nice - the plants were well protected.

Customer service has also been decent for me. Last year, I got a post card saying that the English roses weren't up to par, and offering to replace mine. Mine was perfectly fine, so I didn't contact them, but I appreciate the offer.

I will definitely stay away from perennials, though and stick to shrubs - no matter how tempting.
On August 22nd, 2010, AS changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:

OK, after all these years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, I have to change my rating to neutral. Of the many perennials I planted this year (new garden), only their baptisia didn't make it and it had an ideal spot. I think it was too small to establish itself in the spring and survive the stresses of a hotter than normal year. For the high price, it should have been a sturdier plant. When I contacted them about a replacement, I found out that they don't have any in stock this fall, which suggests they no longer grow their own plants. I would have preferred fall planting, to give the small plant a better chance next year. Looks like I'll need to grow it in a pot myself for a year before setting it out.

I'd buy their shrubs again without question, but I can't honestly recommend their perennials. And as I've said before, the prices on their annuals are ridiculous.
On May 18th, 2011, AS added the following:

No replacement plant arrived, and no offer of a refund. In fact, no communication from them whatsoever. So I went to their website and found out that they're not selling that variety this year.

Meanwhile, a baptisia from another company (planted 5 feet away from the one that died) has doubled in size and is blooming this year. I've learned my lesson. This is not the same company whose catalogs I used to drool over years ago.
Neutral marie_kap
(6 reviews)
On May 18, 2011, marie_kap Williamstown, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

I just placed an order from here the beginning of May. I have not heard anything even after my email. They charged me already on my card but I have not heard anything about shipping. After reading this I think I am going to cancel that order. It was rather costly, and if what I hear is true, it will be rather small.

On May 18, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:

"On May 18, 2011 9:23 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:

Dear Customer,

We try to respond to each email within 24 business hours. I apologize if your email was not received. We would be happy to provide detailed information regarding your order, please contact us at [email protected] or call our toll free customer service line at 800-411-6159.

If an email address was provided at the time you placed your order, we automatically notify you via email the day the order ships out of our facility. In most cases, it also provides a tracking number for your convenience.

We guarantee to provide healthy plants, true to variety and in prime condition for growing, and to deliver them to your home at the proper time for planting. We guarantee that our plants will perform and thrive for at least one year when properly cared for or your money will be cheerfully refunded.

The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship plants in 3in (25.9 cu in), 1 qt (0.94 liter), or 1 gal (3.78 liter) pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience.

We look forward helping you with your questions and concerns. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Customer Service Manager"

Neutral enthusiast10
(2 reviews)
On Oct 14, 2010, enthusiast10 Great Neck, NY wrote:

I was very disappointed with the Heuchera Georgia Peach and Heuchera Rave On plants that I received on 10/14/10. The "Rave On" plants were only 1 to 2" high and the Georgia Peach not much more than that. I am not sure that they will survive the winter. To make matters worse, these plants were expensive (more than other unusual, new Heucheras that I bought from another site that were cheaper, healthier and more than ten times the size) and the shipping was double that of the other company, although I live in a bordering state.
I have bought bulbs from WFF before (and spent a minor fortune to do so) and most of them looked great and bloomed well. My main complaint was that I had ordered about 10 reblooming irises, none of which rebloomed and about 4 did not come up at all. (I planted them in the fall of 2009.) I know that they can take a while to establish themselves, so I am withholding judgement for another year to see what happens.
I was very pleased with the Bloomerang lilacs that I ordered and that were shipped in the spring of 2010. They were really small when they arrived and I was quite worried about them. But they grew well and bloomed all summer, even though this was their first year in the garden. I look forward to larger, more prolific bushes in the years to come (I hope).
I would hesitate to buy from WFF again because I agree with other reviewers that they are overpriced and the quality seems variable.

On Oct 14, 2010, White Flower Farm responded with:

"On Mar 17, 2011 10:38 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:

Dear Gardening Friend,

We are sorry you were disappointed with the Heuchera Georgia Peach & Heuchera Rave On plants upon arrival. If they do not meet your standards in the garden this spring, please contact us for a replacement, credit or refund.

We guarantee to provide healthy plants, true to variety and in prime condition for growing. We guarantee that our plants will perform and thrive for at least one year when properly cared for or your money will be refunded.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our customer service department at [email protected] or call us at 800-411-6159. Wishing you much success this gardening season!

Neutral jshare
(2 reviews)
On Jun 3, 2010, jshare Hsmilton, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

Posted on May 25, 2010, updated June 3, 2010
I've been ordering from WWF for a number of years and was always very pleased by the quality of the merchandise, the way it was packed and the prompt and careful shipping.

However, this April I placed a $300 order for vegetables and annuals. My credit card was charged immediately and it is now the last week of May and I have yet to receive my plants.

I called customer service about two weeks ago, and was told there were still frost warnings (?) and today I was told that the plants may not be shipped out this week due to the warm temperatures (highs in the mid-80's)! Certainly, they don't expect things to cool down come June?
I can appreciate the care they take to ship their plants in the best possible conditions, but if they are being shipped 2 day (I'm only 2 states away, in NJ), the odds of the plants succumbing so quickly is fairly remote. Plus, I have never encountered this problem with them before, and have received my orders safely in the past, even at more extreme temps.
I wonder if there is some other reason for this delay--an overburdened shipping dept. or stock issues?
Also, the fact that the phone was answered with "White Flower Farms from Better Homes and Gardens, how may I help you?" makes me wonder if the company dynamics have changed completely.

On June 3rd, 2010, jshare changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

As it happened, the bulk of my order was shipped out during the week in question. The plants arrived safely, were packed well and were healthy and of a good size--some even had buds and had already begun to set fruit. However, two squash plants were not included and were noted "To Follow" on the packing slip.

Today I received an email indicating that one of them, a winter squash , "Honey Bear", was no longer available due to crop shortage and is being replaced by "Papaya Pear". This wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that Papaya Pear is a yellow SUMMER squash!

While it may have been an acceptable substitution for the Multipick yellow squash I had ordered and received, it is not a very close match to the "Honey Bear" acorn squash I was expecting. At $6.95 per plant, such automatic substitutions should probably not be made without the ok of the customer.
Neutral Blues_Garden
(3 reviews)
On May 30, 2010, Blues_Garden Pembroke, MA wrote:

This year, for the first time, I purchased plants and seeds by mail rather than waiting for my local garden centers to get their stock. I ordered from 3 companies: White Flower Farm, BlueStone Perennials, and Burpee. I've reviewed all three.

White Flower Farm's catalog is gorgeous and they do have things not available elsewhere. But when I called to ask a question, the rep was indifferent and not knowlegable. I felt like I was calling one of those large call centers where the reps take calls for several unrelated companies. The prices are also extremely high compared to other mail order companies and local plant nurseries, especially given the small size of the plants.

But I fell in love with Veronica "Goodness Grows" and Delphinium "Centurian Gential Blue" and ordered three of each on-line. When I called the company about my order and the rep learned that I'd hoped to receive the plants in time to plant them before I left on vacation, she made a special effort to rush my order (during a very hectic shipping time) which I greatly appreciated. (Bluestone did the same thing - Burpee was another story. See that review.)

The plants arrived quickly and well-packaged. They were small (as expected) and in good shape. I planted them about three weeks ago. While they don't appear to be growing yet, they are holding their own.

My rating is neutral because of the prices, small plants, and mixed customer services experience. (the first time I called was on a Saturday. The second time was on a weekday. Perhaps that made a difference.) This is all offset by their special effort to get my plants to me quickly (I'll order sooner next time), the health of the plants, and my hope that the plants will turn out to be spectacular. If they are, and they seem worth the money after all, I may change my rating to positive. In the meantime, I would try White Flower Farm again for special plants.

Neutral kbp922
(3 reviews)
On Apr 30, 2010, kbp922 Stonington, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

A mixed experience. I feel badly for what 'greystone' experienced with missing items on his or her order - as I was the recipient of some things I did not order! I ordered 2 echinacea plants & three perennial snapdragon plants. When my box arrived it contained three bare root blueberry plants and two or three raspberry plants. Having NO use for these items I called to let them know, and I was told I could just keep them, or send them back, it was all the same to them. Ended up giving the raspberries away, and planting the blueberries although we had to wait a while before we were ready to do so, so who knows whether they will even make it...
The items I actually ordered did arrive about a week later, and the items were very well packed, and appeared healthy, soil was still moist etc., although the echinaceas were on the smaller side - one of them was really not much more than a seedling. I will say that they were in pots appropriate to their size- not pot bound, which was good-- but for almost $20 a pop, it is interesting to note that these were $4 or $5 MORE than some echinaceas I got from another online company, yet about four times SMALLER....
White Flower Farm does have a great variety of items not available elsewhere, and the items I got were in good condition when they arrived.

Neutral greyslate
(12 reviews)
On Apr 30, 2010, greyslate Baltimore, MD wrote:

I have ordered from WFF for select plants I couldn't find elsewhere (or for collections I particularly liked) over the last few years and have found the experience to be uneven. This year I ordered in January to make sure that everything I wanted was in stock. My order arrived this week, and 3 items (the most expensive items, 50% of the price of my order) were not in the box. These items were listed as included in that shipment but were not present.

Upon calling the company, they were very helpful in being willing to credit my account for two out of the three the missing items as they were now sold out (the third they were able to send out another to me). However, I was left feeling frustrated that I'd ordered so early, counting on those plants, now to be told they were sold out, and the company had no idea why they weren't packed.

This is not my first experience like this with this company. They try very hard to resolve problems, which I appreciate, but seem to have some underlying organizational issues. Do order from them, but understand that there are some risks involved.

Neutral SDubbeling
(1 review)
On Apr 18, 2010, SDubbeling Norfolk, VA wrote:

I have ordered from WFF for years, and found their plant selection and quality outstanding. Very expensive but generally worth it for hard-to-find plants. I recently had a very bad experience with them. They issued me a refund after I complained. I ordered 5 plants for $120 back in Feb. First problem: they billed my credit card immediately, 2 months before shipping the plants. I don't remember them doing that before but perhaps they did. Second problem: their automated system emailed me on 4/13 stating "DUE TO A CROP SHORTAGE WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SHIP ECHINACEA
They did not ask first. The substitute plant is quite different and nowhere near comparable (much shorter bloom period, much taller, different color). I responded immediately (same day) saying I did not want the substitution. No response until 4/16 *** the very day the unsolicited unapproved substitute plant arrived on my door step ***. Their email response was quite arrogant but at least they issued me a refund. But no apology. No explanation of why 2 months after billing me they discovered a crop shortage. No acknowledgement that the customer should be asked before making substitutions. WFF acts like it is doing you a big favor selling you their plants. They act like they don't want or need your business.

Rating neutral rather than negative because they did issue a refund.

Neutral Silverdare
(3 reviews)
On Feb 26, 2010, Silverdare Cincinnati, OH wrote:

I have been ordering from WFF for many years. As other readers have commented here, their prices are high but the expense can be worth it as WFF offers some plants not easily found elsewhere. That said, I ordered perennials for a new bed last spring and was dismayed to see how puny and distressed the plants were on arrival. They were promptly planted and kept well watered, have all the sun they need, etc.. They have survived, but - given their rough start, they have not exactly flourished. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was rather disappointed with WFF. Has the business changed ownership? PS: Their catalogs remain as luscious as ever, and are a pleasure to peruse during the cold, snowy winter months.

Neutral frogandtoad2
(2 reviews)
On Sep 12, 2009, frogandtoad2 Greenfield, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Ah, White Flower Farm, publishers of catalogs so beautiful and seductive that I've dubbed it "plant porn."
I've ordered a number of things from them over the years, and have had similar experiences to other posters... in a word, mixed. WFF's bulb collections are wonderful, simply wonderful. I just received 200 more daffodils (2 collections of "The Works") to join my 500+ from them, and as usual, they are as fat and beautiful as healthy babies.
Their "Unique 50" daylily collection (of which I have 3 or 4) is nice, too, worth the price, but not quite as over-the-top as the daffs. Their Iris reticulata, allium, and crocus bulbs, also very nice, and while not cheap, definitely recommended.
On the other hand, I'm sorry to say, their perennials are lacking, especially when considering the steep price tag. I just got a re-blooming iris that is an okay size, but not 13.95 worthy. I was very disappointed in the Monarda I got a few years ago... tiny, tiny, tiny, ridiculous price for the size. It looked a cutting that had recently been dipped in rooting hormone and stuck in a 3" pot. One of the three didn't overwinter. All the (same variety) Monarda I got from a local nursery (overflowing pots, half the price) not only survived, but thrived. The hedge roses I ordered 3 or 4 years ago... eh. They just haven't performed. I've seen much stronger plants for less locally. I've been underwhelmed by the perennials I've ordered. I love my wisteria standard, but $149 plus shipping? Good thing I had that gift certificate.
Customer service used to be better. I get the impression that the company's gotten too big. The staff seemed overwhelmed and distracted the last couple of times we interacted. This was for ordering and simple questions; I haven't had to see how they were in resolving a problem.
In short, I'd highly recommend WFF's bulb collections (remember to order your daffs early, you get a discount) without reservation, but would advise someone to shop their local independent nursery for perennials.

Neutral kkirschbaum
(29 reviews)
On Jun 12, 2009, kkirschbaum Newburyport, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I started ordering from White Flower Farm last autumn, so until now I had only bought bulbs from them. They seem pricey, but I was satisfied with the bulbs I received. This spring I succumbed to the temptation of their catalogue and ordered plants. When my order arrived, I was disappointed to see that the cleome 'White Queen' I had ordered were not in the box, and the invoice said "to follow" which I took to mean they were back ordered. I emailed to find out when the cleome might follow, and indicated that I might prefer to just cancel that part of my order. Customer service responded 3 days later and explained the plants were just being released from the greenhouse and would follow the next week. Well, this week I did get cleome from White Flower Farm -- but they sent a different (magenta/pink) cultivar than the 'White Queen' I had actually ordered. I have not yet had a response to my email about this, so i don't know if this was a substitution or if there was a mistake. I doubt it can be corrected since 'White Queen' is now listed on their website as sold out. Unfortunately, I have no use for cleomes in the color they sent me, and I'm now stuck trying to find white cleome elsewhere.

The point of all this is to say that I will definitely think twice about ordering from them again. The plants I have received from them do seem to be large, healthy, and well grown, but given that their retail prices are on the high side, I frankly expect perfection in every detail.

If this was a mistake, well then how confident could one feel about future orders. I've spent thousands of dollars mail ordering plants, and honestly I've never been sent an incorrect plant. If they ran out of the plant I ordered, I would sooner they contact to me to ask if I want to choose something else instead of sending me their choice of a substitution -- how can anyone know what made me choose a certain plant and what criteria to use in selecting an substitution. This would have been especially appropriate since we had traded email about when the cleome would ship anyway.

Neutral memmet
(2 reviews)
On May 4, 2009, memmet Lenox, MA wrote:

I have been ordering from WFF for over 25 years; I am sorry to say that the quality of the plants offered has deteriorated somewhat. This year I was given a $200 gift certificate. The D. Austin roses arrived in fine condition as did the hydrangea petiolaris. The clematis terniflora is miniscule and has had to be placed in a nursery bed. I have been told that all WFF's plants are all outsourced at present. I feel that their prices are too high for most of what is offered.

Neutral blairteam
(1 review)
On Sep 1, 2008, blairteam Millbrook, NY wrote:

I have a very positive report on their tomatoes. They were great and flourished. Some annuals for pots were OK but some did not even bloom. The shade pot with Begonias, Fuschia were great but the plants over shadowed the Coleus and they never 'saw the light of day'. The perenials I ordered were a BIG disappoinment. As many have noted they are delivered very tiny and look like they will take many years to grow to full size. An expensive daylily never grew, was replaced by them and still never grew (in an area where other daylilies that are flourishing). I replaced teeny sedum with some from the local nursery which have done beautifully. The White Flower sedum are still the same size as when delivered. I just replanted them and the roots have not developed at all through a very good growing summer. I may order the tomatoes again but never any flowers. What an expensive disappointment.

Neutral jakki
(5 reviews)
On Aug 6, 2008, jakki Middletown, CT wrote:

I bought a number of plants from WFF last year and have been very disappointed in the results. About 75% of my plants either failed to over-winter or failed to thrive. I don't know if this was due to the CT winter of 2007/08, but I am hesitant to purchase from them again. I wasn't too pleased with the previous year's plants either compared to the first time I bought from them.
Have they expanded too fast and lost sight of quality control?
Plants at their nursery and the ones they supply to local nurseries are large and healthy, but still relatively expensive.
Their mail order costs are very high both for the plants and shipping. I don't think I will be bothering to buy mail order from them again as I can get much better value elsewhere.

Neutral NEflwrpwr
(1 review)
On Jun 2, 2008, NEflwrpwr Voorheesville, NY wrote:

I ordered a bunch of bulbs from there and 100% came up and where absolutely beautiful.

But...I ordered perennials - Amsonia WFF Selection, Heucherella Stoplight and a bubblegum pink coneflower.

The plants were tiny, tiny and I planted them in perfect locations. They did nothing last year when I planted biggie.

This year I need binoculars to see the Heucherella, the Amsonia had two shoots. The conflower is up, but still tiny, tiny and I'll be suprised if it flowers.

I would definately order bulbs there again, but will stick to my favorite nursery in my area for perennials. I would've received huge plants for the same price at my nursery. Everytime I walk by them I get annoyed. They are dwarfs compared to the rest of my garden.

Neutral paulaindc
(6 reviews)
On May 22, 2008, paulaindc Washington, DC wrote:

I shopped from them in the past and when we lived in Connecticut ( still have a lilac and irises from then), and I was somewhat disappointed in my recent order (prompted by a gift certificate) compared to previous purchases. Plants were smaller than the same plant ordered in the past (specifically pink Convallaria), several plants were out-of-stock, and the Dicentra King of Hearts was much smaller than the same plant at my local nursery at a lower price. Not up to the previous standard.

Neutral evanpowens
(7 reviews)
On Apr 21, 2008, evanpowens Henrico, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I ordered Dahlia Happy Single Party and received Dahlia Mystic Illusions instead. As best I remember, there was no place on the order form to indicate whether I would accept substitutions or not. It was not an unreasonable substitution: both yellow with dark foliage, but the overall effect is not a pleasant.

This is typical of my experience of White Flower Farm over the last decade: looks great in the catalog, but what you get is inconsistent: as to size, quality, or even variety in this case.

Neutral peachespickett
(6 reviews)
On Apr 6, 2008, peachespickett Huntington, AR wrote:

I have ordered from many online gardening stores, and many more on e-Bay....I know my plants, and I do research beforehand to find the best quality and size for the best price....My rating is neutral, because I have not ordered from White Flower Farm, and cannot attest to plant quality, shipping, etc....but I have done many comparisons between WWF and other nurseries carrying the same particular plants, and there is something seriously wrong with WWF's prices, in many, many cases charging outrageous prices for SMALLER plants....I'll give a few examples using the Forestfarm (which has a proven record of quality) catalog as a comparison, though many plants could be found for even cheaper than Forestfarm could offer them...
1. Cercis canandesis 'Covey'...WWF carries this as 3-4' bareroot for 75$...forestfarm has 4-5' in 5-gallon container for 59$ (a teller plant in a container for 26$ less...I have personally bought a 4' bareroot Covey off e-Bay for 25$, of excellent quality.

2. Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Dream Catcher'...WWF carries this in one gallon for 24.95$....Forestfarm has one gallon for 12.00$.

3. (this is a good one) Wisteria sinensis 'Caroline' ...WWF carries bareroot, 3' tall for, get this, 149.00$....Forestfarm carries 3-4' tall, 5-gallon container size, for 49.00$....ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS, FOR A LARGER TREE THAT"S NOT BAREROOT....How can any company justify a 100$ difference for a smaller plant? And that 100$ doesn't include shipping.

4.Thuja 'GreenGiant'...WWF carries one gallon for 28.95$...Forestfarm carries one gallon for 12.00$ could look on e-Bay and find 5 or 10 one gallon GreenGiants together for less than 28.95$.

These are all just examples, but it's indicative of the pricing in the whole WWF catalog, and I urge anyone thinking of buying from them to use PlantScout here on Davesgarden and compare the price first.

Neutral rah127
(13 reviews)
On Mar 5, 2008, rah127 Dalton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I received a 25 dollar gift card for subscribing to a magazine from White Flower...The catalog has beautiful plants, but they are very expensive when compared to other companies. And overall, I didn't think my butterfly bush did very well this year. I am hoping it will do better this coming year. Their packaging is very good (much better than foam peanuts!) Don't know if the plants are worth the extra cost or not after just one experience, but my guess is not...

Neutral rondahnc
(1 review)
On Jun 8, 2007, rondahnc Waxhaw, NC wrote:

This is my first year of ordering from White Flower Farm. I ordered Astrantia Star of Snow, Hemerocallis Black Plush and 3 Chocolate Delphinium. It's true the plants are expensive and very small upon arrival, but they have interesting "must have" plants that every gardener is looking for to display in their garden. The Chocolate Delphinium was the "must have" for me. I ordered 3 and was excited upon arrival. They were small, but looked healthy so planted them within the hour. They grew tall and to my surprise..purple, not chocolate. I called WFF and after talking to customer service, then a supervisor, I was told they were shipping me chocolate delphinium to replace the purple ones and that they were arriving 2nd day UPS. When I realized UPS messed up the 2nd day delivery and the plants were in a hot box over the weekend, I called WFF and a supervisor apologized and said if they weren't okay to call and they would take care of it. I was happy with that. When they arrived they were completely yellow with no green and soil completely dry. I called and spoke with customer service and told them the story and what I was told. They offered to refund my money or replace them. I told her I wanted plants, but not the delphiniums, just to send 2 tikki corn flowers. I figured they would handle shipping better than the delicate delph. The customer service person was annoyed and didn't quite believe me about the delph. experience and said ok we will send them out and promptly said good-bye without giving an order #. I felt bad about having to even call to say the delph. didn't live because of heat in the box for 5 days. I am hoping the corn flower arrive sooner than later. Will I order from them again....? Yes, because they will have more "must haves" next season, but I will be concerned about calling to replace any mishaps.

Neutral Lehewzher
(6 reviews)
On Oct 5, 2006, Lehewzher Frederick, MD wrote:

I have placed two orders with this company.
The first was via a gift certificate I got for my birthday and got two Clematis. They arrived awful. Reminded me of a dried out twig I'd find on the floor of the forsest or something. I planted them both anyway. Oddly enough, one of the two has started growing, albeit slowly, under and up my climbing New Dawn rose. I ordered 3 Clematis plants from another company in CA which arrived in much better shape and each plant was about $7 less than the $20 per Clematis at WFF.
My second order was recent and I went with bulbs. The fall bloom variety are all growing but one (5 of 6). Those that are coming up are beautiful and I am hoping since they went intop the ground not even a month ago, the last one will bloom next year. The autumn bloom crocus is starting to sprout so we shall see. I also have 50 lily bulbs that I need to plant this W/E from them so let's hope they grow!

Neutral mt_horeb_garden
(4 reviews)
On Oct 4, 2006, mt_horeb_garden Mount Horeb, WI wrote:

I recently ordered two "Going Bananas" Daylillies from WFF. They arrived about two weeks ago, the perfect time to plant here. They were bareroot plants, with just a bit of sprouting on the top. The roots were huge compared to daylillies I have received from other mail order companies, and they are growing beautifully in the garden already. I am very pleased with the purchase I made. (On a sidenote, several years ago I ordered some Foxtail lilies from WFF and had some problems with them blooming. I was willing to give them some time, but all along the way WFF was willing to work with me to make it right if I requested. They did bloom after two seasons of not blooming, but to the credit of WFF, I did not plant them in an ideal location.)

On May 10th, 2007, mt_horeb_garden changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:

I changed my rating to neutral as the daylillies I ordered from WFF were the only daylillies of mine that did not make it through the winter this year. To WFF's credit, they did offer to replace them no questions asked, but after a goof up that delayed the replacements I simply requested the order be canceled and requested my money back. The customer service folks I worked with were very helpful, nice and professional. I have ordered from WFF twice and twice have had problems with the plants. Both times however the customer service has been excellent.
Neutral DCUrbanGardener
(15 reviews)
On May 5, 2006, DCUrbanGardener Washington, DC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I am a prolific mail-order gardener, and WFF has been a good experiment over the years. Their customer service has always been cordial and helpful whenever I run into any problems; horticulture expert is very keen on offering recommendations and suggestions either.

The descriptions of their plants and more importantly, the sizes they come in, are clearly stated on their websites to avoid possible confusions.

To kick off my 2006 planting season, I have placed two large orders separately and everything arrived well - no damaged plants, no DOA plants and no loose soil. Everything looks good. After acclimating them to the outdoors elements, I am happy to report that out of the 18 plants I ordered only two haven't, and one still don't seem to respond. I have since called WFF to report the situation. The two plants that didn't make it, they were glad to issue replacement certificate, since those plants had since sold out.

They have however they have made a note on my account, on the remaining plant I am waiting on. I will give the plant two more weeks to come out of its dormancy. If not, I will for sure follow up with WFF and work out the details.

They have pretty good stocks, and I have been happy with them. Prices are a little high for some choice plants, but we shop at WFF for our respective reasons.

All in all, very positive shopping experiences.

On May 17th, 2006, DCUrbanGardener changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:

That plant mentioned above, which has yet to come out of dormancy, still hasn't demonstrated any sign of life. This has been two months. I called them, asking for a refund, since that particular plant has been sold out. They said the refund would be expedited.

Three of the 28 lily bulbs I bought have shown stunted growth. That's a little strange since they are all planted in the same bed. The other lilies are thriving. I have emailed them outlining the situation; have yet to hear from them.

Earlier, I also ordered a Clematis cultivar from them, and thought the price was reasonable for a 3"-pot plant. I have since found out that I could buy the same cultivar in a 5.5" pot (and older) from another mail order nursery for an additional 2 dollars. This is unbelievable. I am planning on returning the plant to WFF.
Neutral gardeneve
(1 review)
On May 2, 2006, gardeneve Roslindale, MA wrote:

I recently ordered for the first time from White Flower Farm. Based on their catalog and prices, I thought my merchandise would be top-notch. The two shrubs I ordered--a hydrangea and an ilex--were pretty good, but the three campanulas were just unbelievably small for the price I paid. Just seedlings! I have since potted them in larger pots, because I don't think they're ready to go into the garden. Later, I found the same plants at Home Depot--huge things at half the price. I think I'll use WWF's catalog as an idea source only in the future.

Neutral bestgardener
(8 reviews)
On Jan 22, 2006, bestgardener Cincinnati, OH wrote:


White Farm has a few unusual perennials, but their prices for annuals such as agelonia are outrageous. I would recommend that gardeners might go to their local garden centers for the annuals at much cheaper prices and in larger pots.

I like the quality of their perennials and would continue to but perennials from them, but annuals are a different story.

Neutral sanity101
(3 reviews)
On Aug 19, 2005, sanity101 Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Bought their 'pink dafodil mix' to plant last spring. While most did come up (eventually) they were small, late, and not particularly pink. So while nothing was specific enough to complain about, I'll take my busniness elsewhere in the future.

Neutral dama
(1 review)
On Jun 14, 2005, dama Malvern, PA wrote:

I have ordered from White Flower Farm on a number of occasions over the past few years with mixed experiences. Like another poster, ordering from them usually leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, probably becuase of the high price of the merchandise. It seems as if with every order, I have at least one problem with a product. HOWEVER, their customer service has always, always, always been very good, and I have received replacements or credits for all merchandise that has not performed.

My experiences, combined with the fact that most of their offerings can be found through other sources at much lower prices mean that going forward, I will most likely order from them only if they offer something truly unique. I don't really worry about the quality, because, in general, it's very good. I know that if I do get a plant that isn't healthy or fails to grow for me, the matter will be rectified. I would just prefer not to have the hassle.

Neutral ianandsara
(12 reviews)
On May 3, 2005, ianandsara La Grange, IL wrote:

I am disappointed that neither of the two plants I ordered for spring delivery will be available; White Flower Farm canceled both shipments.

I'm definitely not "negative," though, because the giant snowdrops I ordered last fall came up beautifully.

Neutral IvyHaven
(2 reviews)
On Jan 7, 2005, IvyHaven Colebrook, CT wrote:

I live near WWF and have been doing business with them for more than ten years. When I pay so much for their products, I expect good plants. Problem is a lot of time they substitute without asking and also do not deliever when they initially state items will be delivered. The only thing I would recommend purchasing from WWF is bulbs. Everything else is risky. Quality of their stock is getting more marginal with time. My husband is a spine surgeon and takes care of a lot of the WWF workers and the WWF employees themselves comment that WWF plant quality is deteriorating.
Usually I purchase about 1200$ worth of stock a year from WWF and am consistently disappointed. Much happier with vigor and health of local nursery things. However, when WWF stock does survive, their quality of plants as far as their appearance and bloom size are good. I have had problems with WWF sending dead things and not willing to refund me but wanting to replace with more dead stock. I am not referring to bareroot items, I mean dead items. And yes I get placed on hold for ever waiting to speak to their horticulturalist only to have her attempt to brush my problems aside. So this year-no WWF orders from me.

Neutral slubberdegulion
(33 reviews)
On Oct 29, 2004, slubberdegulion Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have mixed feelings about White Flower Farm. I've placed a number of orders from WFF over the years and I think the plant quality has decreased. This Spring a plant order I placed arrived on time and mostly healthy, but the plant sizes (for the prices!) were very disappointing. Last year, I chanced an order on plants too and found one snapdragon's colors to be nowhere near the description. To be fair, I find WFF's bulbs to be competitively priced and usually healthy (although I sometimes am just a little disappointed with the mixes). I will be sure to look around at other nurseries for plants I see and like at WFF until I'm convinced the quality has improved.

Neutral schiang68
(5 reviews)
On Jun 16, 2004, schiang68 Cambridge, MA wrote:

I recently ordered a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree from WFF, and then found out afterwards that the tree is both small (8-12") and young (~1 year old, and thus not of fruit-bearing age yet). The estimates I have got indicate that it will be 1-2 years before the tree will set fruit.

This would have been all right if these trees just have to be sold that way, though it would have been nice if WFF had put the info about age and fruiting on their Website. However, fruiting-age Meyer lemon trees appear to be readily available from other vendors (some receiving very high marks on this Website) at essentially the same price that WFF charges for its younger plant. I saw one site selling 1 year old trees for half of WFF's price; most don't openly offer trees of that age.

Since I blame myself for not researching the topic more closely before buying, I can't really say that this has been a negative experience, but it certainly hasn't been a positive one.

On July 16th, 2005, schiang68 added the following:

I'm still neutral at best on the Meyer lemon I got from WFF last summer. The plant is still alive but has not grown much and suffers from scale (which came with the plant, by the way). It did put out a lot of flowers this past spring, so I haven't lost hope, but another Meyer and a kumquat that I obtained from a different vendor are both doing much better than this WFF plant.

I don't know about WFF's performance with respect to other plants, but I do not plan to order from them again.
Neutral Paree1
(1 review)
On Apr 7, 2004, Paree1 Pikesville, MD wrote:

I ordered 3 Little Honey hydrangeas in January which arrived last week. I unpacked as directed. They were very small plants in large containers, but they had little baby leaves. It poured here and was unusually cold for the next several days, so I kept them sheltered. By yesterday, one was dead and the others are pretty puny looking. I called WFF and they immediately offered a credit back to my account, no hassle at all. WFF is expensive for some things, but their bulbs are often a good deal and my experience overall has been positive. I'm sorry these plants are so weak looking. I love hydrangeas! I will continue to comparison shop and use them when I need to. Despite the annoying pretentiousness of the catalogue, it is a source of inspiration to me for container plantings (most of which can easily be found locally).

Neutral smithroz
(5 reviews)
On Apr 1, 2004, smithroz wrote:

They are quite expensive and can be argumentative about what my local conditions are. In addition, because of their money back guarantee, they do sometimes seem indifferent to getting shipments right the first time around.

The crocus bulbs I ordered two years ago were lovely, so I decided to order several other types of bulbs and plants from them last fall.

A few days after I ordered the bulbs, there was a family emergency that was to take me out of town for three weeks. I called their customer service to request they hold the shipment. No can do, I was told. So it had to sit on my open front porch.

When I got home, I checked the date the bulbs had been sent. It was shipped a week after I had called. Why they couldn't have held it is beyond me.

When I opened the shipment, planting instructions were missing for several items. However, when I e-mailed their customer service, they got back to me promptly with the information.

So far the delay in planting does not seem to have effected the bulbs, which all came up.

I love their catalog and use it for ideas, but they would have to be the only practical source for an item before I will buy from them again.

Neutral amivins
(4 reviews)
On Mar 20, 2004, amivins wrote:

My small order last year arrived promptly, and two ailing plants were courteously and quickly replaced. However, they are ridiculously expensive. If you absolutely MUST have a certain plant and cannot find it anywhere else, consider WFF. Otherwise, your money is much better spent elsewhere.

Neutral raphine
(5 reviews)
On Sep 11, 2003, raphine wrote:

I no longer order from this company. They have nice stuff, and their plants ship well, but they're incredibly expensive. They're also less than candid about how plants will do at the edge of their zone, or about plants that are aggressively invasive. I prefer to spend my money with other companies.

Neutral emskware
(5 reviews)
On Jun 30, 2003, emskware Old Bridge, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

In early spring I ordered two macrophyllia blue hydrangeas, because I had never seen them locally. I received 2 very small plants (for a total of $56!), which were both damaged by poor packing (packing tape was placed OVER the leaves, the catalogue was thrown on top, and the stems had broken off). I emailed White Flower Farms and they quickly wrote back that they would send replacements, which they did. These replacement plants were slightly larger than the originals, but still small in my estimation, for the price. I planted both and in the meantime found two more of the same plants at a local nursery; the nursery plants cost the same as White Flower Farm, but were literally 10 times larger! In the meantime, one of the replacement plants died, and the other has only grown 2 leaves in the meantime. The nursery plants, however, are already starting to bloom! I emailed the company again telling them of the dead replacement plant, and they have agreed to refund the purchase price to my credit card. Unlike a lot of people here, I found their customer service representatives very responsive, but the quality of the plants (in relation to the prices charged) rather poor. It's a shame, too, because they have beautiful product. Therefore the neutral rating.

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